Yesterday, I was sharing with a friend a story Rick Joyner shared in his book The Final Quest. When I first read the book years ago, it touched me greatly. But the story that impacted me the most is one he shares near the end that helps rightly align our way of seeing things to how the Father sees.
Here’s part of the story from the book:
In the vision, I saw a man who was zealously serving the Lord. He was continually witnessing to people, teaching the Bible, and visiting the sick to pray for them. He was very zealous for the Lord, and had a genuine love for people. Then I saw another man, named Angelo, who was obviously a tramp or a homeless person. When a small kitten wandered into his path, he started to kick it but restrained himself, though he still shoved it out of the way rather harshly with his foot.
After showing him this, He asked which of the two men pleased Him the most. Without hesitating, he answered, “The first.” Before I continue with the story let me remind us of a couple scriptures. First Luke 12:48b (AMP)
For everyone to whom much is given, of him shall much be required…
And also Matthew 25:14-29 (ESV)
For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money.
Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’
He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.
Having shared those, let’s resume our story as He describes in greater depth the evangelist and the homeless.
…the first man had been raised in a wonderful family, which had always known the Lord. He grew up in a thriving church and then attended one of the best Bible colleges in the country. He had been given 100 portions of His love, but he was using only 75.
The second man had been born deaf. He was abused by his parents and kept in the dark, cold attic until he was found by the authorities when he was 8 years old. He had then been shifted from one institution to another, where the abuse continued. Finally, he was turned out on the streets. The Lord had only given him 3 portions of His love to help him overcome all of this, but he had mustered every bit of it to fight the rage in his heart and keep from hurting the kitten.
We have GOT to stop comparing ourselves! That is the world’s way of seeing how we’re doing. It is reinforced in our school system through grading, and again in our work environments through performance reviews – we’re constantly compared to our peers until it’s an ingrained response.
But there’s a principle here we need to get: we must do all WE are capable of and equipped to do by GOD’s standards, not simply do better than most folks we know. In the end we answer to Him. That’s why we are to work unto the LORD (Colossians 3:23).
One day I was getting frustrated with my husband – the way he had communicated with me in a particular situation just seemed wrong to me and I was thinking in my head how I would’ve handled it. Then the Lord checked me.
He reminded me that Allen didn’t get to grow up in a family where not one couple in my lineage was divorced and all had healthy, loving relationships. Rather he grew up in a household watching his mother be abused while his father fed his addictions until they finally got divorced. He never met his paternal grandfather and barely knew his maternal grandfather. How would he have any idea what a healthy marriage should look like or how to communicate in one?
I was convicted of pride! My job was to model what it IS supposed to look like, not to judge him for not knowing how to walk out what he’s never gotten to learn. And most importantly, to pray for him, NOT to judge him. I had been given more “talents” and instead of doing what was required of ME, I was busy judging him for not having more talents… something he had no control over.
As I shifted my mindset, I began to see enormous growth in his communications with me. One day when I was having an “off” day, he very graciously talked me through a rough moment I was having. Afterward, I marveled at him and said “Where did you learn to do that?!”
He smiled and said, “From you.” Even retelling the story now – years later – it still brings tears to my eyes; he was so honoring of me.
I think we all have areas we’ve been given many talents and other areas we’ve been given few. The question is will we be faithful with what we’ve been given?
I encourage you to be sure as you assess your own progress that you are asking the Father how you’re doing and not simply compare yourself to others, which could give you false pride or frustration (depending on if it’s a many-talent or few-talent area of your life).
And I encourage you to extend grace to others, and realize that when it appears someone isn’t doing well, that doesn’t mean they aren’t doing the best THEY are capable of. Respond in love and prayer without pride, simply focus on being all He’s called YOU to be. Be a wise steward of what He has given you that you might receive more and be called “good and faithful.”
Father, please help us to see as You see! Help us to be wise stewards of what You’ve given us. Help us to give what is required of us and not be concerned about how that compares to anyone else. Let us be pleasing to You and do Your good work with joy and the excellence You’ve given us to do it.